To: June K. Berg - Valentine's Day 2012
- Published on Monday, 13 February 2012 21:49
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
(Picture is May 2002 – your 5th year of Alzheimer’s)
June, since we first met in May of 1951 in the little town of Barron, Wisconsin, you have been my Valentine for 60 years. My father Tom introduced us. I was home on leave from the Army at the time. Although I had my own dating plans for my leave time, my father had this “special lady” he wanted me to meet. It was a bright Tuesday morning in May when my father made the introductions.
That day changed my life forever. You have filled my life with blessings and you have made my life an adventure. We were both poor farm kids from the “Great Depression” era.” June, it was you that changed all of that. I would never have been able to look into the future and imagine how you would bless my life, nor visualize the many things we would do together. You became my traveling companion and for many years we traveled about the US, Canada and Europe on forensic science matters. What a great life we had!
June, we would never have dreamed, that we would at some time together - dance the night away in the Hotel Rossia in Moscow – attend receptions by “Her Majesty’s” Government in Edinburgh or the President of Italy in Rome - have an audience with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican and a handshake - enjoy a reception at the House of Lords on the banks of the River Thames in London - The City of London early on became your favorite city… memories go on…
On the distant horizon however, the storm clouds were gathering…
In January 1998 the terrible disease Alzheimer’s entered our life. As you traveled into the shadows of this terrible terminal disease, it slowly began to take control of our lives. The final result of this disease is always the same, it is fixed and locked and relentless. On the 23rd of October 2008, after an exhausting 11 year struggle, it took your life. You will always be the love and light of my life and my forever Valentine. No other will ever take your place.
The last Valentine that you selected and purchased for me was in 2002…you purchased it for the following year 2003. You were in your 5th year of Alzheimer’s but still doing well. However, the disease was rapidly taking control of your life. As you traveled deeply into the shadows of this disease, you became unable to deliver the last Valentine for Valentine’s Day 2003.
I did not find this last valentine until 5 years later and only by accident and during the week of Valentines Day in 2008. In the year 2008, you were so deep in the shadows of Alzheimer’s and in your last year that you did not know me and rarely ever even opened your eyes. Those were terrible dark and hopeless days!
I knew that you loved to buy cards of all kinds for family, friends and relatives. I decided to look at your previously purchased cards and see if you had purchased any Valentines. If I found any, I intended to send them out to our family and any one else appropriate as a final Valentine from you. My search revealed a manila envelope stuffed with valentines. It was marked:
“Valentine’s for next year – 2003”
As I looked through the new and unused Valentines, I found the Valentine that you had intended to give to me that year. It was a very emotional moment. The verse was very beautiful and moving. Finding it just before Valentines Day 2008, made it even more special. I cannot help but wonder – did God have a hand in all of this?
The cover was a beautiful flower design of embossed and raised flowers. The beautiful words inside read:
“On Valentine’s Day Dear Husband –
Hand in Hand, Side by Side
There’s Nothing We Can’t Do,
Together You and I.
Soul to Soul, Heart to Heart,
I know our love shall never Part,
Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Your last undelivered Valentine tells our story - there is little I can add to these beautiful words or sentiments. Thank you June my sweetheart, I will love you forever!
Do you remember that day of so many years ago when you taught me how to use the London Underground for convenient travel? When the final Bell Tolls for me, I hope that God will send you to once again show me the way!
(Published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Valentine's Day 14 February 2012)
Note: June Berg passed away on 23 October 2008 after almost 11 weary years of battling Alzheimer's. June's funeral notice as printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune following her death in October 2008 can be found on the top blue navigation strip under the label "In Memoriam" and on the drop down menu as item:
For the story of June’s favorite home at 6025 Gardena Lane and the poem I wrote about this home during a day of deep sadness, click on the below link: (This was June’s home for almost 40 years. It was constructed shortly after the previous home was severely damaged in a tornado. 6025 Gardena Lane was the first home the June participated in the selection and purchase of a lot on a small hill, helped with the design of the home and watched it being constructed. 6025 Gardena Lane had a special place in June's heart.)